Osteoporosis is a condition whereby our bones become brittle. It is characterised by a decrease in bone density therefore resulting in fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures (bones breaking).
Our risk of developing osteoporosis increases with age. It commonly develops in women after the menopause but it also affects men. It is therefore recommended that at the age of 65 we should be tested for it.
Once diagnosed with osteoporosis it is vital to keep active. Our bones can actually strengthen by doing weight bearing exercises. Resistance training such as using weights and therabands builds muscle mass which in turns gives the bones more support. Doing pilates is a low impact activity and therefore the bones do not have to deal with harsh forces that could cause trauma.
It is important to continuously challenge your body when exercising. If you are doing an exercise which is too easy for you, the effect on your body is not as beneficial. This is where a physiotherapist comes in to progress you. It is also important to be doing the exercise correctly, otherwise you may not be working the correct muscle group and you can injure yourself.
Here are some exercises which I often use in my practice:
Try to balance on the floor with your opposite arm and leg whilst keeping your spine in neutral. Hold 5 seconds and relax. Alternate arms and legs.
(You can increase the difficulty by holding a weight)
Lift your bottom gently off the floor with each vertebrae lifting at a time. Hold 5 seconds and relax slowly. Repeat.
Place a theraband around your knees. Without straining, try and push your knee against the band whilst keeping your torso in a neutral position. Return to midline. Repeat with the other leg
Tie a theraband to the leg of a table or chair. Place your foot in the band and try to slowly kick your leg out to the side keeping your top half upright. Alternate legs.
Always remember, exercising must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle including proper nutrition to mineralise the bones. For further information or advice about exercising with osteoporosis, please contact London Home Physio on 0207 096 0684 or email [email protected]